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What We Do

Everyone should get the healthcare they need when disasters hit. Right now, millions don’t.

Disease outbreaks, the climate emergency, and conflict are hurting millions of people each year. And that number is growing. It’s a global health crisis that affects us all, but it’s the world’s poorest people who suffer the most.

We bring together the best of the NHS, humanitarian and local health expertise – at the worst of times. Learn more about what we do below:

We respond

We respond rapidly to emergencies, delivering the expertise needed to support local health services and save people’s lives.

In 2020, we responded to calls for help in 13 countries: from Bangladesh to Zambia.

Sudden onset-disasters take lives, separate families, and devastate communities. When they hit, local healthcare services can be overwhelmed – which is why UK-Med responds to calls for emergency medical assistance from all across the world following crises like disease outbreaks, natural disasters and conflict.

We are the leading partners in the UK Emergency Medical Team, the front line of the UK government’s response to a humanitarian crisis overseas. Drawing from our membership of 1000 global healthcare professionals, we recruit and train teams who are ready to deploy within 24 hours’ notice.

Our work in action

Cyclone Idai was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to ever affect Africa.

When the cyclone struck in March 2019, millions lost their homes and livelihoods, with over 1,000 people tragically losing their lives. We supported the WHO to co-ordinate 1,200 cholera vaccinators in 300 sites to reach more than 800,000 people in four high-risk districts – in just 6 days.

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On 4 August 2020, Beirut was rocked by a huge explosion.

The blast killed over 200 people, injured thousands and caused billions of dollars of damage. We were on the ground within hours, and over the following eight months, supported Lebanon’s COVID-19 response as cases rose by 180%  following the explosion.

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We prepare

We work with local healthcare staff to strengthen their response skills, enabling health services to be better prepared for emergencies.

In 2020, we trained over 9000 health staff across the world to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When disasters hit, it’s local healthcare staff who are able to respond most quickly to save lives, and will be the ones providing the long-term care that allows people to rebuild their lives.

However, some countries experiencing years of instability or conflict have significant training and investment gaps, and the frequency and scale of some health emergencies will always require international support. We help healthcare staff and organisations to be better prepared for emergencies through training and capacity building; helping to rebuild local healthcare systems and empower staff to respond against outbreaks or disasters.

Our work in action

A mother in South Sudan is 87 times more likely to die in childbirth than a mother in the UK.

In Kapoeta, our team provided sexual and reproductive health training for healthcare workers. The sessions were focused not just on life-saving skills for women giving birth and ensuring babies were healthy, but also responding to gender-based violence and adolescent care.

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Yemen has been gripped by war since late 2014 and continues to be one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises. 

UK-Med has been operating in Yemen to support the country’s COVID-19 response through hospital assessments, training materials, and critical care training for 100 doctors, nurses, and anaesthetists from 13 different governorates.

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We learn

We work with academic partners to promote evidence-based practice that improves patient care and the humanitarian sector.

2.5 million people are served by the five facilities we’re working in Myanmar as part of our three-year ‘safer hospital’ project.

We support and promote research projects focussed on sharing learning from responses and informing policy improvements from across the humanitarian sector.

With our Head Office located within the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (University of Manchester), we are firmly nestled within the academic world – both globally and in the UK – and committed to feeding our practical learning into curricula for the current and next generation of humanitarian workers.

Our work in action

How do we save lives in the face of increasingly frequent, severe and complex emergencies? How will a stretched aid system get ready for the climate emergency?

We’re collaborating with HCRI (University of Manchester) and Save the Children UK on a report that addresses these key issues facing the aid system, which will be launched in October 2021 ahead of the COP26 in November 2021.

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In April 2020, we launched the online course ‘Introduction to Humanitarian Healthcare’ with the Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare (FRRHH).

The course was developed by humanitarian health experts, including UK-Med’s founder Professor Tony Redmond OBE and UK-Med surgical lead and consultant orthopaedic surgeon Andy Kent.

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